Children of doctors and lawyers could be priced out of private schools, report warns

The children of doctors and solicitors may be priced out of private education in little more than a decade’s time, analysis suggests.

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, published today, has found that the rise in private school fees has outstripped wage rises for more than a decade, causing professionals to spend a growing proportion of their disposable income on private education.

“We see today that occupations such as construction workers and clergy are already priced out of private education unless they combine two salaries or can obtain a bursary,” it says. “By 2028 that may apply to average members of professional occupations such as doctors and solicitors.”

The proportion of a typical doctor’s after-tax income taken up by educational costs has risen from 17 per cent in 1990 to 38 per cent today, and is set to rise to 53 per cent by 2028, the report, produced for the financial services firm Killik, says.

“The trend of fees rising more rapidly than wages means that it will gradually apply to more and more members of the middle classes until only very few of their number can attend,” the report warns.

It also says that rising numbers of international students are contributing to the escalating fees.

“A potentially worrying factor…is that the trends can continue potentially for a long time since the pool of very wealthy international parents is much larger than the number of overseas pupils currently in British independent schools.

“At some point private schools may have to think about the balance: having an international pupil body clearly brings advantages, but the idea of institutions which are not rooted in their own area is less desirable,” it said.

The report calculated that 14 years of independent day school fees from 2015 would cost £236,000.

It suggested that by sending a child to a state school and investing the money that would otherwise have been spent on fees, a family could save enough money to help their child pay for university, buy a house and still be “comfortably off in their twilight years”.

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